JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Post offices across the country are seeing high volumes of shipments ahead of the holidays.

Whether it’s gifts or letters to your loved ones, North Carolina USPS branches say they’re prepared. Postal officials said the middle of December is their busiest time of year with people eager to get their presents to friends and family.

Key holiday shipping deadlines and tips to avoid shipping scams

“They processed over almost 400,000 packages during the weekend (December 2-4),  so I mean, you know, that’s an incredible volume already,” said Philip Bogenberger, communication specialist for the U.S. Postal Service.

To help with the growing number of shipments, the U.S. Postal Service has brought in some new high-tech equipment.

“Over the last two years, we’ve installed 249 new high-speed package sorting machines across the country. So that’s one of the things that is helping deal with these high volumes,” said Bogenberger.

It also helps with keeping their branch offices fully staffed.

“It’s one of those things that we hired 28,000 seasonal workers across the country, many of those right here in North Carolina,” he said. “We’ve converted 100,000 part-time workers to full-time workers over the past two years.”

To ensure your parcel makes it to its destination by December 25, Bogenberger said the earlier the better.

“I always recommend that people mail your items early. That way you can sit back and relax, enjoy the holiday,” added Bogenberger.

Some people are already getting a jump on the shipping stress.

“Trying to get ahead of the curve,” said one Jacksonville resident, Deke Owens. “I have family in Colorado, Alabama, New York. So definitely shipping through various states cross country.”

The postal service also reminds people to be aware of their deadlines.

“If you’re shipping with retail ground, you want to do that by December 17,” said Bogenberger. “Your first class mail, which is the majority of the mail, you want to do that by December 19.”

USPS added that some locations will have different hours going into the holidays.

To find your closest post office and their hours, click here.